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hellllllllllllllllllllllllllooo two-thousand twelve

Hi.

I’m Caitlin Hicks. You may remember me from such blog posts as “Christmas Eve in North Sydney” and “GAZPACHO!” Those posts were sooo 2011… and I’ve got news for you. It’s 2012.

Happy NEW YEAR!

Sydney harbour Bridge 2012

What? When? WHO?! oh my god. This just got real.

I’ve got a lot to cover, as I’ve been somewhat MIA as of late. Let’s start with the basics…

Christmas ’twas lovely. A leisurely morning of coffee and presents with my boyfriend,

coffee and ukuleles.

followed by the most cocktail filled, antipasto-delicious, summery Christmas brunch I have ever experienced.

anti-pasto lunch

Crazy Straws and White Sangria? Yes. Yes I think so.

ha-mazing

This crazy straw makes an appearance later on… cause let’s be serious. Is there a better way to sip fancy alcoholic drinks than through a twisty twirly straw? Don’t answer that… cause there is NO better way. Fact.

Christmas was followed by boxing day, more food, more lovely people… more lovely weather.

Boxing Day was followed by ‘My parents arrive in SYDNEY day’ Also known as December 27th, 2011. Even more lovely people, mediocre weather…

My parents arrived in SYDNEY day was followed by ‘Breakfast and impromptu pub crawl day.’

tourists!

There was coffee, there was toast, there was one pub, and then there were three more. I had one cider. A schooner. I wassssssss drunk. Not a joke. Still not sure what happened.

black and white images make us classier, no?

That day was then followed by a slew of days that ended a wonderful year. 2011… where did you go?

pimms

I rang in the new year with… MORE Antipasto, more cocktails and an enormous amount of fireworks. Hallllelujah.

delicious

There were rice paper rolls, there were dips, there were vegan cheeses (recipe to follow) and there was a punch bowl of PIMMS. Pretty much the best drink you’ll ever have. I do declare.

vegan cheese! (ish)

Happy New Year everyone. Two-thousand and Twelve greets me with no job, but some wonderful company and exciting prospects.

rooftop fireworks

Things are just getting interesting.

I’m declaring it the best year ever. Deal with it.

x

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Filed under Adventures in Australia

Baking and Beaches…

There is nothing cuter than miniature foods. I mean really. Miniature cookies, miniature burgers, miniature cupcakes. I’m not sure if I love them because they’re so darn small and adorable, or if it’s because they make me feel like a giant and I get to devour them in just one bite. Either way, I’m pretty sure that foods taste better in smaller sizes. Actually I’m going to make a sweeping declaration here and say that they do. For sure. It’s science.

And with that, I bring you more mini-cupcakes.

yummm

These cupcakes were crazy delish. I’ve made them before just never in mini-form. Anyway, they were very moist, very vanilla-y, very fluffy and the entire cupcake tasted incredibly buttery. Not sure how that works, as these are vegan. But I won’t argue with the masses. I took these to work for the very sweet, very pregnant English bird going on maternity leave and after eating one, or two, or three each, we shared them with the rest of the office. I left for a couple minutes and when I returned they were gone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Without further ado, I will share with you the recipe that I only slightly tweaked from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World. Possibly the best cupcake book ever created, vegan or not.

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 c. oat milk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 1/4 c. flour

2 tbsp. arrow-root powder

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. margarine

3/4 c. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan.

Whisk the oat milk and vinegar together and set aside.

Sift the flour, arrow-root powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

Cream the margarine and sugar for two minutes until it is light and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla. Add the soy milk mixture.

Beat the dry mixture into the wet. Fill the muffin cups up 2/3rds of the way and bake for 20-22 minutes.

Eat many.

In other news, this past weekend was jam packed with hot summer-y days and incredible beach-y afternoons. I narrowly escaped a Steve Irwin-like death, thanks to my keen eyed Canadian friend who spotted a sting ray as I was galloping into the water. No big deal.

So what if Sean laughed at us upon hearing our tale of near death, so what if that sting ray wasn’t large enough or fierce enough to take my life, SO WHAT if Sean’s stepped on sting rays before with no harmful effects… I still think we’re smart for avoiding the shallow waters.

beachin'

We followed Sean on a small hike up some rocks to find the perfect place for an afternoon swim. After much consideration and debate we climbed down the rocks and into the jelly-fish infested waters. Apparently the see through ones don’t sting you. I’m learning so much… and slowly getting over my fears of deep sea creatures. Although, that seaweed the brushes past my legs freaks me out EVERY TIME. idiot.

After fully submerging ourselves in the clear blue waters, Sean casually pointed out which jellyfish that would sting us, if given the opportunity, and so as Samantha clambered for the rocks… I peed my swimmers, only slightly.

๐Ÿ™‚

I kid. We were totally cool. Because of course we know that those jellys only move with the wind, so if we kept tabs on the wind direction and stayed aware… we’d be fine. Never mind that their tentacles range from 15 cm to 10 meters. pft… That doesn’t scare me. At all.

Oh my god. It terrifies me. But I have to admit, you can’t say no to the ocean. It’s nearly impossible, even if it’s salty waters sneak into my nose and ears. There is nothing like swimming out in that warm water. It was incredibly comfortable… nothing like swimming in those crisp Canadian lakes. (which I still love and miss.)

We paddled around for quite a while and after gracefully climbing back up the rocks like the mermaids and mermen that we are, we dried off and cracked into the beer and chocolate. All class.

summer beer

It was so lovely and relaxing that I completely forgot it was Sunday.

xxx

party boy!

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cupcakes

Wine and kayaks and sunscreen and rope swings…

So… the thing about writing a blog that revolves around my own baking adventures is that if I don’t bake new things… I have nothing to write about. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been baking. Just nothing new. I’ve been addicted to granola and chickpea cookie dough for the past two weeks. I promise this weekend I’ll bake something great. I mean there is a woman at work going on Maternity leave… and that occasion just screams for baked goods, no?

In other, non-baking news, I took a wee trip up the coast with some friends for a little rest and relaxation. We sipped wine, we sat by pools, we kayaked and we even applied sunscreen. Jealous?

Conan... BANG!

These are the friends...

We took a wee drive to the Hunter Valley for some delightful wine tasting…

this is some wine

There was sparkling reds and sparkling whites…

This is the how classy we are

There was a woman who sat with us and explained each wine as she poured me generous tastings. She took a liking to Sean. She touched him one too many times on jaw, attempting to explain taste sensations on your palate. Had it not been for the nineteen glasses of wine she poured me, I would have clocked her. Definitely.

This is when I used Shane as a fake model for my real Cowboy picture...

Some more wine and cheese...

REPRESENT! Brup Brup (gunshots) (cause we were in Scarborough) (duh)

Beer tastings...

Sadly, I don’t really have any pictures that don’t involve drinking wine. But trust me… there was fun in the sun, bikinis, rope swings, kayaks… and a Magpie that attempted to peck out my eyes. twice. Scariest birds ever.

Here’s to many more weekends like this one. Minus the Magpie.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia

Give Thanks.

I am thankful for friends. This is my jazzy friend. You can call her Samantha. Because that is her name.

jazzy lady

She is pretty cool. No joke.

Sam is pictured here with a turkey. She is massaging it in a very sensual way. Why you ask? Well, it is Candian Thanksgiving of course! And what better way to spend a Sunday than massaging a turkey with butter and herbs?

Sam arrived in Sydney JUST in time to join me for some patriotic celebrating in the form of eating rich food and drinking good wine. and beer. and cider.

I am thankful for cider.

We had big plans for the weekend and so we spent Saturday sussing out Sydney’s finest farmer’s market and purchasing all the best vegetables from a lovely man who then gave us some garlic for free. What. a. guy.

I am thankful for free garlic.

After spending our pennies on delicious produce, we spent Sunday attempting to recreate all of our Mother’s finest thanksgiving feasts.

It was not an easy task. We didn’t really have any recipes… but we knew that we needed: a bird,

mashed potatoes,

mased potatoes!

roast vegetables,

ummm... delicious

stuffing and pie.

pumpkin pie

OH and cranberry sauce. Can’t forget the cranberry sauce.

I am thankful for cranberry sauce. and pie.

The mashed potatoes and vegetables were a cinch. And Sam took care of the bird as I know not how to even handle meat. I suppose thats what happens when you grow up a vegetarian. However, I did sprinkle the pepper and salt over top of it since Sam made the pepper grinder explode with a strength that she didn’t even know she had. It was this strength that gave our vegetables a spicy kick (from the unrecoverable peppercorns).

Stuffing, however, was a bit tricky. But we pulled it together in the nick of time.

the australian fam.

We’re are pretty much Anna and Kristina. And if you don’t get that reference… you are probably not Canadian. That, or you don’t watch Oprah’s new television network.

I am thankful for Oprah. (But don’t tell anyone.)

Anyhoo, the house totally smelled like Thanksgiving, which I think is a win. The whole meal was delicious and I think we would have done our Mother’s proud had they been able to partake in the feast. The boys definitly enjoyed it. The only quesitonable part was our decor. We didn’t have as much time as anticipated to gather harvest-like centerpieces… but I’d say we compensated well. carrots? pomegranate? free garlic? a scented candle and a jar of maple syrup? perfect.

And while these little guys weren’t for Thanksgiving, I think they are worth mentioning. Mini-Apple pies made to woo and persuade. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yum.

Adorableeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

All in all, a delightful weekend.

…and I am thankful for this guy too.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Pies

pumpkin scones in the spring time

How is it the end September already? I mean, really. It’s ridiculous. I’ve been here for almost five months now… no wait. I HAVE been here for five months. Today! Weird. Anyway, time is just flying by.

pumpkin sconesss

My body is confused though. I’m craving the heat. I want that warm sun on my face. I want that feeling of walking out of your house only to realize its warmer outside than it is indoors. I want to not wear a jacket to work. And I want to rock shorts and a tanktop without the fear of afternoon chills.

But again, it’s SEPTEMBER… this is autumn in Canada and for that reason my body wants pumpkin pies and warm tea. Maybe a wood burning fire, delicious treats and halloween.

I haven’t had a proper summer since 2009… It seems I’ve been chasing winter back and forth across the globe, so yes. Summer is what I need, but pumpkin is what feels right.

That, and every other recipe I’ve seen since September 1st has been Pumpkin themed. Honestly, Autumn needs some new flava. But I won’t complain. I love me some pumpkin. Even if I can’t find it canned in Sydney. And even if what Australians call a Pumpkin is ACTUALLY a butternut squash… its delicious none the less.

So what do I do? I make smoothies. With pumpkin. and breads. with pumpkin… and SCONES! with pumpkin.

So today I bring you those Pumpkin Scones. Autumn Pumpkin scones, in Spring. Yum.

delicious

Pumpkin Scones with cinnamon icing

Recipe adapted from here

1 c. spelt flour

1 c. all purpose flour

1/2 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 c. vegan butter

1/3 c. pumpkin puree

1/3 c. oat milk

Cinnamon Icing

1/4 c. powdered sugar

1/2 tbsp. almond milk

Cinnamon to taste

For the Scones
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Celcius and place the butter and milk in the fridge.

Mix together the flours, the spices, the baking powder and the sugar. Cut in the cold butter and then stir in the milk and pupmkin puree.

Mix the dough until a loose ball forms. lightly flour your surface and mold the dough into a rectangle. Cut into triangles. Mine made eight very small scones.

Bake the scones for 12-13 minutes.

For the Icing
Mix the ingredients together and add cinnamon to taste. Drizzle icing over the scones and allow to set.
make these! I bet they’d taste even better in cool, windy weather.
xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breakfast

Ode to Chocolate

For as long as I can remember I have loved one food in particular more than any other in the world. My love for this food started very young, but I believe it grew stronger when I became a vegetarian. I often used the excuse that since I didn’t eat fatty meats or fish, that I could make up for calories and saturated fats with this one incredible food. And I did. I do.

It is also the food that stopped me from becoming a vegan for many years because I didn’t know it existed without milk. But it does. ohhh how it does, and it’s tastier and more delicious than I could have ever imagined. It is delightful when frozen and sinful when melted. It is of course; Chocolate.

hello... lover

Funny story: In my formative years, I distinctly recall returning to school one day (or many days) after lunch only to have a friend of mine point out that I, once again, had brown smudges on the seat of my pants. Awkward. Devastatingly embarrassing when you’re in 6th grade. And let me tell you, 11 year olds do not take ‘I was eating chocolate and it fell onto my chair and melted’ as an excuse. No… The only logical answer to them was that, yes, you guessed it; I pooped my pants.

OH CHOCOLATE, you would think that at some point between having you stain all of my favourite pants and having you constantly, yet unknowingly, smeared upon my chin and cheeks I would curse you and attempt to cut ties. But no. I cannot resist you. Even in your messiest state, I will lick you from spoons, or forks, or even knives(!) putting my tongue (and dignity) at risk. But I digress…

A couple of months ago I discovered this ‘healthy’ chocolate fudge recipe. With only five ingredients and no refined sugar, this is one of the most delicious chocolate delights I have ever tasted. I’ve served it to many and not a one has said anything other than good things. It is divine. Please make it.

yes... there was cocoa powder EVERYWHERE

Chocolate Fudge

Adapted from this deliciousness

1 1/4 c. coconut oil (softened)

1/2 c. peanut butter (crunchy or soft)

3/4 c. maple syrup

1/2 c. cocoa powder (sifted)

pinch of salt

In a cooled bowl, combine the coconut oil and peanut butter. You can use an electric mixer, but I never do. Just mix ‘er up. When its thoroughly combined, add in the maple syrup and combine. Finally, add the cocoa powder and salt. Mix until combined and scoop the mixture into small cupcake moulds. If it’s a bit too thick, you can melt the mixture over a pot of boiling water until it is a pourable consistency. Once in the cupcake moulds, sprinkle a couple of grains of sea salt on top. Trust me… its a good thing.

Put the fudge in the freezer to firm up and then enjoy! It will never fully harden because of the coconut oil. Always melty and amazing.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Desserts

The (Baking) Bucket List

For the past couple months I have been making a real effort to post at least once a week. The posts usually revolve around my weekend and if I’m lucky, they involve some sort of baking or recipe. I have to admit though, sometimes my life isn’t as exciting as all that. Sometimes I have nothing to write about, nothing to report… and I’m left feeling a little bit empty, having no baked goods in my tummy, no pictures of food and no humorous anecdotes to regail you with. It’s a shame when this happens, but it happens. I am only human and my life can’t revolve around pictures of food. Not yet anyway, though that is the goal (!).

This week… is one of those weeks. I’m currently house sitting and dog sitting for a friend so it’s been a bit of a write off for me. I’m all turned around, I’ve barely turned on my computer, or even picked up my camera until now. Yeeesh.

With all this non-baking going on, I’ve had the chance to think about some of the things I’d like to try. I’ve browsed Foodgawker and Tastespotting, bookmarked way too many blogs and ordered a cookbook on amazon specifically for one recipe. You know… the usual.

With that being said, I’ve taken some ques from other food blogs and started my very own “Top 100″… Although, mine is not 100, yet. It’s kind of like a random Baking bucket list. I will add to it as I see fit… but for now it is just some things that I’d like to attempt or re-attempt and document here.

I think its a fine starting point. I’ll aim for one attempt per week… but I make no promises. My fast paced life may not allow it, what with all the going to bed at 9.30pm and watching 30 Rock in its entirety.

Anyhoo, I DID make a little somethin soemthin last Saturday for my boy. By request:

Mmm Saturday mornings.

Banana Porridge with Poached Apple
(Banana and apple doesn’t sound like the best combination to me, but each on it’s own? Delicious! So… I mean I geuss it’s all the same in your stomach)

2 small bananas (one chopped one mushed)

1/2 c. of rolled oats

1 c. oat milk

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamin

pinch of ginger

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. of coconut cream

Raisins for garnish

Coconut for garnish

1 Apple, peeled and sliced in quarters

water or juice for poaching

First, place the apples in a saucepan with the water or juice and bring to a boil. You can add sugar if you prefer a sweeter poached fruit, but I think the apples are fine on their own. Add a slice of lemon or cinnamon stick for extra flavour. Allow the apples to boil for about 20 minutes or until you can pierce them very easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, whisk together your oats, milk, banana, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger, salt and maple syrup. Using a small saucepan on medium heat, heat up the mixture, stirring occasionally until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the vanilla and coconut cream, continue to heat until desired consistency.

Spoon oatmeal into a bowl, and top with some poached apple. Sprinkle with raisins and coconut and drizzle some maple syrup on top.

The combo was actually quite delish.

Sweet Saturday Mornings, you smell of overpriced Bananas.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breakfast

The bread of my dreams…

cinnamon pull-apart bread

I’ve been dreaming of making this bread for weeks, months even. And since Monday I have had the uncontrollable urge to stare at pictures of it and study every recipe and every version that I could find. It didn’t take much to find a vegan version… so I’ve been researching and gathering ingredients since my Monday evening grocery shop. With all that being said, the research, the studying, the drooling… its actually kind of impressive that I STILL misread the recipe and forgot a step. But… that’s not unusual coming from me.

This past week was beautiful and such a stark contrast to last week. Not a drop of rain. Beautiful sunny days, crisp mornings and cool evenings. Perfect running weather, very ‘autumn in Canada’-esque. The days are definitely getting longer, too. The sun is just setting as I leave work. I’m so ready summer nights…

But in the mean time, the best baked good are those suited to the cool weather. Conditions were perfect; beautiful day, gorgeous light, Sean was going biking… the apartment would be empty and I would be able to play music, throw flour and dominate as much space as was necessary for baking and photography needs, which is of course the entire apartment. ๐Ÿ™‚

apples and raisins

I started as soon as I woke up. I can never find applesauce at Woolworth’s, so that was my first task, fresh applesauce. Next I whipped up some dough, and then left it to rise for the next hour as I doodled about and went for a run.

When I returned, I tried my hand at the kneading process, something I have zero experience in… so I really have no idea how I went at that. I’m seriously considering taking the bread making course at the North Sydney community centre in August. I seem to have quite a few gaps in my bread baking knowledge.

I allowed the dough to rise for another 5 minutes and then rolled it out for filling and constructing the pull-apart deliciousness. The rolling was especially hard, for a couple reasons. First of all, I don’t really have a flat working area… and second of all, my working area was just a hair bigger than how big the dough was supposed to be rolled. Dilemma.

The entire kitchen... post-baking.

After to some strategic rolling, pulling, rotating and measuring, I smeared the filling over the dough with my pastry brush fingers, and then sliced it, stacked it and bunched it up into the bread pan.

pre-bake

It was looking kinda pathetic, yet still delicious, so I snapped some pictures and popped it into the oven. It wasn’t until 10 minutes into baking that I realized I had forgotten the all important second rise. Idiot.

Well… not bad for a first attempt. I’m thinking next time I’ll work on my kneading skills, remember to let it rise, and then perhaps add some pumpkiny goodness? Yummm…

before and after

The result was still gorgeous. Deep golden tips and a lovely cinnamon-raisin insides. I think it needed a bit more moisture, but it was amazing with a nice strong cup of coffee.

amazing...

Even with my minor screw-ups, Sean managed to enjoy half a loaf when he got home later.

yummm...

That boy might just be growing tired of my photographing his every meal. He was whining through most of my pictures, particularly when I moved outside to get better light. He was not impressed. Perhaps if he didn’t eat all of my baking in one sitting I wouldn’t have to take so many pictures of it in such a hurry. Just sayin…

Cinnamon-Raisin Pull-apart Bread

Adapted from Kohler Created

Ingredients

For the dough:
3/4 c. non-dairy milk
1 packet active yeast
3 c. white bread flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 c. raw sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. fresh unsweetened applesauce

For the Filling:
1 tbsp. fresh unsweetened applesauce
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
In a small saucepan, gently warm 3/4 cup non-dairy milk and sprinkle yeast in letting it dissolve. This takes about five minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and 1/4 salt. Add 5 tbsp applesauce and yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add in another 1/2 cup flour, stirring to combine with a spatula. Continue mixing until you have a sticky dough ball. It will take a while to all come together, but it will.

Place the dough in large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm area and allow it to rest until doubled in size, or about 1 hour.

While the dough rises you can whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon and applesauce for the filling. I found this filling very thick, and not very good for spreading, so I added a bit more applesauce, but this is probably where I would add pumpkin instead of applesauce, and maybe more than a tablespoon. Maybe a 1/4 c.(?)
Grease and flour a 9ร—5ร—3-inch loaf pan. Set both aside.

Sprinkle remaining flour on a flat surface and knead dough, kneading in most of the flour. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a large thin rectangle, about 12-inches tall and 20-inches long, or roughly as large as you can make it, depending on the size of your petite kitchen.

Using your fingers, or ideally, a pastry brush, spread the filling across all the dough. Sprinkle with additional brown sugar if desired. Sprinkle raisins evenly across the dough and eat a lot of them.

Slice the dough vertically into strips and stack strips on top of one another and slice into strips again. Be sure they will fit into your baking pan. Layer intoย your greased pan and cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 30-45 additional minutes. (don’t forget this part… idiot)

Preheat to 350 degrees F and put the baking rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until tips are deeply golden brown. Mine was a bit doughy in the center, so be sure the tips are quite dark which will ensure that it had been in for long enough.

Allow to cool for up to 30 minutes before removing from pan and onto a clean surface or serving dish. Serves 2 greedy people. just yank it in half.

mmm…

xxx

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Filed under Breads

The week that it rained forever…

Sydney... pre-rain

On Monday evening I was on my usual stroll home from work… it was darker than usual, but I thought nothing of it. Perhaps I’d left a little late, maybe there was some minor cloud cover, no big deal. As I came out of the park I took a deep breath of the fresh air and admired the night.

…And then the heaven’s opened up and the rain began to pour.

I was almost home, but it didn’t matter… I ran the rest of the way and still ended up looking like a drowned rat.

The next morning I woke up and looked out to find more rain… but I thought little of it, and just slapped a scarf round my head and took my umbrella for my walk to work. I remember thinking, as I jumped over a puddle, that this was kind of nice. My feet were still dry and that was all that mattered.

…And then it started coming down in sheets.

Cats and dogs even. I waited at the crosswalk, but the green light never came. I could see people in their cars looking at me, feeling sorry for me, laughing at me, as the rain fell sideways and soaked me through.

…And then I misjudged the depth of a puddle and water rushed into my boots.

By this point, there was nothing I could do. I kept my umbrella up… but it was pretty useless. My skirt was dripping wet, and my feet were cold. I sloshed through the puddles. However, I made it to the homestretch with my good mood intact.

…And then a car drove up onto the sidewalk and plowed me in the side, clipping me with the side mirror.

I was startled, confused and then just like that my good mood was gone. Who drives up onto a sidewalk and hits a pedestrian? And then just holds up his right hand in a half-wave. The very same wave you use when the car beside you lets you into their lane. Was it an apology? Was it a ‘thanks for moving when my car hit you?’ I dunno. I barely even got eye contact.

Honestly, it’s no big deal… I’ll just move along. Thanks for the raised hand apology. I appreciate that.

So I hit his van with my inside-out umbrella and screamed some profanities that I can only hope he heard. I’m pretty sure that makes us even. No?

Well, in any case, I made it to work in one piece. One soggy piece. I spent the rest of the day airing out my boots and sitting on tea-towels. It was joyful. The brightside? My hair looked amazing, thanks to the scarf I wrapped around my head before leaving the house. Yes… I’m a babushka now. jealous?

This rain continued straight-through until Friday night. It was incredibly persistent. And I love the rain, but I gotta say it put a damper on my mood. I did, however, learn my lesson about walking to work. I finished out the week by taking the bus and wearing a different set of clothes for the commute.

In other news, I did some baking this week… but it wasn’t much to write home about. And I didn’t get any pictures. That’s sort of the problem when I only bake at night. I need a good reflector and flash system. Working on it.

Hopefully next week will bring some better light and better opportunities for more picture taking. I’m getting restless.

In lieu of any pictures that even remotely relate to this post… I’ll leave you with this. Pancakes a la Caitlin.

Hopefully I can recreate and take better images soon for more recipe love.

Apple pancakes with coconut, granola and dried fruit. Oh and maple syrup.

xxx

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Canad-ia Day!


Being a Canadian in another country always makes you feel like you need to be extra patriotic.

All.the.time.

You constantly cheer at inappropriate times when you see things related to your home country. You jump into every conversation that is even remotely about the great white north. You pretend you are actually educated on and are concerned about the Stanley Cup, and who wins… and most of all, you keep that Canadian flag sewed to your backpack, no matter how many people make fun of you for it.

With that being said, when July 1st rolls around you have no choice but to dig out your red and white clothing and wish everyone that you encounter a Happy Canada Day. And in my case, you make mini-cupcakes with cinnamon-vanilla icing and maple candied pecans. obviously.

I had little time this week, what with haircuts and office parties, but Canada day woke me at 6am to finish off these babies. I took them into work and displayed them proudly in the communal kitchen. I was only kind of pissed when the first cupcake eater stole the C in Canada… honestly? Cause now it says Happy Anada Day. No one knows it’s Canada day to begin with, let alone ANADA day. However, I allowed my inner Canuck shine through, I took some deep breaths and I bit my tongue. I put up a sign beside the cupcakes to educate everyone on the date and occasion.

delightful

After work, my lovely boyfriend and I decided to hit the one bar that was throwing Sydney’s Canada Day Bash. The Art House Hotel. Their website advertised real live Huskie dogs and a show called ‘The Full Mounty.’ It promised a good night.

We decked ourselves out in our finest Canadian threads and headed out. Immediately after arriving, we found the Huskies. Adorable. I don’t know why they were wearing leis… but we fed them treats before heading to the bar for Canadian beverages. And just then… we spotted the other lone Canadian rocking the very same Black bear hat that I was. Amazing.

A couple friends joined us and we danced the night away,

the crew... haha minus the guy whos head I cut off. oops.

as mounties stripped down to nothing on stage in the much anticipated ‘Full Mounty’ and BNL, Avril Lavigne and Sum 41 serenaded us with some sweet tunes.

Black Bear Lovin'

Sean got a bit carried away and began making out with the black bear. That’s not actually what we do in Canada… but I let him be.

After we’d had enough drinking and enough dancing we left the bar and wandered back to the train station. After a brief drunken stop at Woolworth’s and some croissants and soy-yogurt, we headed back to North Sydney for a snack and early sleep.

July 1st ended for me, but it was just beginning in Toronto… so naturally I celebrated on Saturday as well.

xxx

Chocolate cupcakes with Cinnamon-Vanilla frosting and Maple Candied Pecans

Cupcake recipe adapted from Vegan cupcakes take over the World

1 c. soy milk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

3/4 c. sugar

1/3 c. canola oil

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 c. flour

1/3 cocoa

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a mini-muffin tin.

Whisk the soy milk & apple cider vinegar and set aside to allow it to curdle. Add the oil, sugar & vanilla. Beat the mixture until foamy.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder & salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches. Beat out all the large lumps.

Pour about a tablespoon or the mixture into each liner. Bake for about 14 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now make some bad ass frosting.

Vanilla-cinnamon Frosting

1 3/4 c. icing sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. margarine

Beat the margarine until fluffy and add half the icing sugar. Add the other half and beat until smooth with the vanilla. Add in the cinnamon… delish.

Maple Candied Pecans

1/4 c. maple syrup

1/3 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. pecans

Toast the pecans lightly in the oven. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and heat on medium high until it comes to a boil. Stir often, careful not to burn. Reduce to simmer for ten minutes.

Toss pecans in mixtures and set.

Frost each cupcake and top with a maple pecan!

cuppy-cakes...

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cupcakes